Peer Pressure

She crept into the hotel room and locked the door behind us. She scurried over to the bedside table and pulled a plastic bag and a dollar bill out of her deep coat pocket. The bag was sparsely filled with a messy white powder. She peeled open the Ziploc and poured a line of the substance directly onto the tabletop. She put the bag down and methodically, in very slow, concentrated steps, began to roll the bill into a tube. I gently placed my hand on hers “Belle, you don’t want to do this.” She hit my hand away and whirled around to face me.

“Don’t tell me what I want,” She snapped.

“Stop,” I was firm, but gentle; I would never raise my voice to Anabelle.

“Why should I? They said it’d make me feel better. They said it’s what I’ve been looking for!”

“And you’re going to let them tell you what you want?”

“Don’t use my words against me!” As her voice lowered to an urgent whisper, I realized just how angry she was.

“Ana, I’m sorry,” She turned away from me and picked up the makeshift straw. “Please.” I uttered in a strangled whisper, “for me.  Don’t–” She didn’t understand how hard it was for me to see her so weak. “Just … don’t… do it.” My voice seemed so small and insignificant.

“This is what I need, Akeem.”

“No, Anabelle. It’s not.”

“I—“

Listen!” I broke under the pressure of holding my deteriorating friend together, “I’ve always been here for you. I’ve always been with you; I’ve always been your friend. I know you. These people that gave you this,“ I gestured at the bag, “They aren’t your friends. They don’t care about you the way I do–the way I always have. I’ve known you long enough to know what you want, what you need. Listen to me, please.”

She turned slowly towards me. Tears were beginning to well in her eyes. I could feel her heart tearing within her fragile chest.  “You don’t know me at all.  You’re just a figment of my imagination.”

“Anabelle! I—“

“How can a thought know anything? How could you ever have mattered to me? You don’t know what’s good for me,” She turned away from me again and my heart shattered. “I don’t need you anymore. I never did… Just… leave me alone and—and don’t come back.”

I stayed just long enough to watch her lids force the tears out of her eyes, then wept as I slipped into the recesses of her mind.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Peer Pressure

  1. a very powerful story, enjoyed it.

    people who encouraged you to “chase the dragon” aren’t your friends.
    i loved the twist at the end of the story. she was actually battling against herself. (i think). 🙂

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